Re: conscious existence after death?

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Wed Apr 20 2005 - 05:54:29 EDT

Jack Syme wrote:

"After death, do our souls/person/mind whatever you want to
call it, cease to exist until the general resurrection?
 Or is there an intermediate state of conscious existence
until the resurrection? And if there is an intermediate
state, is this corporeal or only spirit?"

There is much anecdotal and some biblical evidence for various kinds of interaction of the living with the dead. I seem to recall that surveys indicate more than half the population believe this sort of interaction is at least possible, and many acknowledge it has actually happened to them. Is this kind of "evidence" to be dismissed as fervently as "evidence" for, say, alien abductions? I'd say yes had I not had a single vivid experience of this sort myself. Up until that time I did not believe a human soul or spirit could exist apart from a body.

My interaction was with the spirit of a teenage girl whose death by automobile accident I had just witnessed in Leeds, England. There was nothing of her presence my five senses could detect; instead, she compelled me to acknowledge her purely as spirit, and we seemed able to communicate clearly via thought. The interaction was so vivid and so unexpected that I haven't been able to dismiss it, even though it occurred more than 30 years ago. And no, I wasn't on drugs or anything, but had in fact just finished work for the day in the university's cloud chamber laboratory. Nothing like it has happened to me since.

For philosophical reasons I'd still prefer to believe that souls can't exist apart from bodies, but this experience has compelled me to reject those reasons. At the same time the experience by itself was not adequate to allow me to formulate a theory of free-floating souls, other than that they seem intellectually coherent, they are aware of their former life and at least some of the world, and they don't seem constrained by space.

For a time I also concluded that hell and eternal damnation were necessary consequences--given that some souls would not go to heaven; but later I decided that God would be able to obliterate as easily as torture eternally. In other words, maybe the "immortal soul" doesn't have to be.

Note also that, although Jews may not have had the same ideas about souls and bodies as Greeks, the story of Jesus' post-resurrection appearance in Luke 24:36f clearly indicates that "seeing ghosts" was entrenched in Jewish culture. The disciples immediately interpreted Jesus to be a spiritual manifestation of a still-dead person, aka ghost. Jesus answers, not that there ain't no such thing, but rather, "...A ghost [pneuma] doesn't have flesh and bones...," likely leaning on a bit of lore they already accepted.


  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 9:40 AM
  Subject: conscious existence after death?

  Jan did not want to continue a discussion on this topic,
  so I thought I would post it seperately. I want to know
  if any of you have an opinion, and evidence to support
  your view of the following question(s).

  After death, do our souls/person/mind whatever you want to
  call it, cease to exist until the general resurrection?
   Or is there an intermediate state of conscious existence
  until the resurrection? And if there is an intermediate
  state, is this corporeal or only spirit?

  I am still working through the monism/dualism question.
   And scientifically it seems to me the best evidence is
  leading me towards monism. But the Bible, from the best I
  can tell, seems to say that there is an intermediate
  conscious state, followed by a general resurrection into a
  "spiritual" body. This would disagree with Jan's idea
  that there is no "time" in hades/sheol because the souls
  there are conscious.

  But I am looking for different perspectives on this.
Received on Wed Apr 20 05:57:22 2005

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